Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway
The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway works well, but it's not cheap
- Looks stylish; stable performance; easy to setup; works with PC, Mac and Linux platforms
- Feels a little flimsy, doesn't work with prepaid accounts or Telstra mobile phone SIM cards, expensive initial outlay and plans
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway performs well, taking advantage of Next G's superior network coverage and speed. However the expensive initial outlay and ongoing monthly costs are hard to swallow.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Aimed at users without access to fixed line cable or ADSL Internet services, Telstra's BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway is a 3G modem/router that provides wireless access to Telstra's Next G network. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway works well, but neither it nor Telstra's wireless broadband plans come cheap.
Manufactured by NetComm, the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway (3G21WB) is a much nicer looking device than the previous model. Gone are the protruding antennas and the flat, box-shaped design. The new Elite Wireless Network Gateway is sleek, slim and sits upright thanks to a small silver stand. This means its ideal for those with limited desk space. The modem feels a little flimsy; the plastic creaks when pressed and the rear cover awkwardly clips in and out of place.
The front of the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway features 12 blue LEDs. They let you see signal strength, 3G, LAN activity, Internet connection and Wi-Fi status, and power at a glance.
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway includes four 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, two USB ports, a SIM card slot and an optional antenna connector for wireless reception. The USB ports allow printers or hard drives to be shared over a network, while the four Ethernet ports can connect directly to a PC or other network-capable device. The USB ports are conveniently located on the side of the device, so there's no need to remove the rear cover.
Setting up the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway is relatively straightforward. The package comes with a USB key that you plug into your PC or Mac to install the connection client software. The modem router comes pre-programmed with an SSID (wireless network name) and a WPA key (wireless security key). You'll need to use these defaults to set up the network initially, but you can change them using either the software or the Web-based interface. You'll also need to enter your BigPond account details. The device must be paired with a new or existing BigPond broadband account and will not work with prepaid accounts, nor will it accept regular Telstra mobile phone SIM cards (even if they have a data allowance).
We installed the connection software on both a PC and a Mac and were up and running in a matter of minutes. The BigPond Elite is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X operating systems. For wireless use, the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway only requires the included AC adapter to function. The unit supports the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as well as 802.11b/g.
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway can deliver a theoretical maximum throughput of 21Mbps for downloading and 5.8Mbps per second for uploading when connected to the Next G network. These theoretical speeds are normally only available using Telstra's Turbo 21 modem; Telstra's other USB modems and similar devices from the likes of Optus, Vodafone and 3 are generally capable of 7.2Mbps downloads. It's important to note that these speeds will rarely be seen during normal use — Telstra claims an average speed of 8Mbps for downloads. The speeds will also depend on a number of external factors including your location and hardware.
We performed the majority of our testing with the device at our North Sydney offices, using both a PC and a Mac. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway maintained a full HSPA+ connection and performed reliably. We achieved average download speeds of 3Mbps and upload speeds of 1.5Mbps when connected over b/g Wi-Fi, and speeds of 4.1Mbps (downloads) and 2.3Mbps (uploads) when connected over Ethernet. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway took 7min 49sec to download the 85.8MB iTunes installation package over Wi-Fi and 3min 41sec over an Ethernet connection.
Telstra sells the BigPond Elite Network Gateway for $399 outright. Selected Telstra customers may be entitled to a $200 rebate, in addition to a discount on Telstra access fees for the first 12 months of a 24-month contract plan. There are five plans available, with monthly combined download and upload limits of 400MB ($29.95), 1GB ($39.95), 3GB ($49.95), 6GB ($79.95) and 10GB ($119.95). There are no charges for exceeding monthly quotas, though Telstra will throttle speeds to 64Kbps once the limit is reached.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Settings in iOS 10: Every notable change you need to know
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCNetwork Security Engineer - Cisco ISEVIC
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCIT Risk Specialist (Assurance) - TelcoVIC
- FTChief ArchitectVIC
- CCSenior Technical Specialist - AIXVIC
- TPProject Manager - SAPQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- CCDevOps Lead - Agile/AWSVIC
- FTNode.js/API DeveloperNSW
- FTMS Exchange System Engineer l PowerShell l Message LabsNSW
- FTManager - Field ServicesVIC
- FTSecurity Solutions Architect - Consultancy - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTLevel 3 Support ConsultantNSW
- CCSenior Transition and Organisational Change ManagerNSW
- TPIDAM ArchitectVIC
- FTNational Manager of Security - We are looking for a strong Leader - Syd CBDNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Travel and Expense Management SystemQLD
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- CCSolution Delivery Manager / Project ManagerNSW
- TPJunior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior PMO Analyst - ReportingNSW